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- Celebrating the Holidays with Loved Ones in Nursing Homes
The holiday season is a time of joy, connection, and togetherness. For families with loved ones in nursing homes, finding meaningful ways to celebrate can be a heartwarming experience. At Sawyer Law Firm, we understand the importance of maintaining strong bonds with those residing in nursing homes, especially during festive times. Here's a guide on how to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones in nursing homes while also paying attention to the conditions and ensuring their well-being. 1. Plan Ahead Start by coordinating with the nursing home staff to plan your visit. Ensure you know any special events or activities scheduled during the holiday season. This collaboration will help you make the most of your time with your loved ones and enhance the festive spirit for everyone in the facility. 2. Create a Festive Atmosphere Bring the holiday spirit to the nursing home by decorating your loved one's living space with festive decorations. Simple touches like string lights, ornaments, or holiday-themed cards can make a significant difference. Check with the nursing home administration regarding any restrictions on decorations to ensure compliance with their policies. 3. Share a Meal Together If possible, plan to share a meal with your loved one. Whether it's a potluck-style gathering with other residents and their families or a cozy meal in their room, breaking bread together can create a sense of normalcy and warmth. Be mindful of any dietary restrictions or preferences your loved one may have. 4. Bring the Joy of Music Music has a magical way of lifting spirits. Consider bringing a playlist of your loved one's favorite holiday tunes or, if allowed, a small group of carolers to spread cheer. Music can be a powerful tool for creating a festive and joyous environment. 5. Personalized Gifts and Memories Gift-giving is a wonderful way to show your love and appreciation. Consider personalized gifts such as photo albums, handmade crafts, or sentimental items. These thoughtful gestures can make the holiday season more special for your loved one. 6. Observe and Communicate While celebrating, it's crucial to pay attention to the conditions in the nursing home. Take note of your loved one's well-being, the cleanliness of the facility, and the behavior of the staff. If you notice anything concerning, communicate with the nursing home administration promptly. Advocating for the well-being of your loved one is an integral part of ensuring their happiness. 7. Stay Connected Virtually If distance or other circumstances prevent an in-person visit, leverage technology to stay connected. Schedule video calls, share virtual holiday celebrations, and involve your loved one in the festivities remotely. Virtual connections can bridge the gap and bring joy to both sides. At Sawyer Law Firm, we understand the importance of family, especially during the holiday season. Taking the time to celebrate with your loved ones in nursing homes while being attentive to their living conditions is a meaningful way to create lasting memories. If you ever have concerns about the well-being of your loved one in a nursing home, don't hesitate to reach out to experienced nursing home abuse attorney J.P. Sawyer for guidance and support. Wishing you and your family a warm and joyful holiday season!
- Attorney J.P. Sawyer Secures Prestigious Spot in MidSouth Super Lawyers for Second Consecutive Year
ENTERPRISE, Ala. (December 4, 2023) – Nursing home abuse attorney J.P. Sawyer has once again been recognized as one of the distinguished MidSouth Super Lawyers in the category of Plaintiffs-Medical Malpractice. This marks the second consecutive year that Sawyer has been honored with this prestigious distinction, reaffirming his exceptional commitment and expertise in the challenging field of Medical Malpractice Law. MidSouth Super Lawyers, a highly respected legal rating service, annually identifies outstanding attorneys who have demonstrated excellence in their respective practice areas. The selection process involves a rigorous evaluation based on professional achievements, peer recognition, and a high degree of peer evaluations. This recognition is a testament to attorney J.P. Sawyer's unwavering dedication to his clients and his outstanding contributions to the legal profession. Attorney J.P. Sawyer expressed his gratitude for being selected once again, stating, "I am honored to be selected again in the category of Plaintiffs-Medical Malpractice. Practicing in this area of the law is very demanding, but is also so rewarding to help folks who have been injured by medical negligence." Nursing home abuse attorney J.P. Sawyer has over 25 years of experience and knowledge advocating for individuals injured due to the negligence of others. In the last 15 years, we have recovered over $40 million for our past clients. This is no easy feat, but because we are passionate about standing up for those who cannot fight for themselves, we work tirelessly to obtain justice and the full amount of compensation our clients deserve. This recognition by MidSouth Super Lawyers further solidifies attorney J.P. Sawyer's standing as a leading attorney in the field, acknowledging his dedication to securing justice for those who have suffered due to medical negligence. For more information about attorney J.P. Sawyer and his legal practice, visit https://www.sawyerfirm.com/.
- Ensuring Rural Health Equity: A Legal Perspective on National Rural Health Day
November 16 is National Rural Health Day, a poignant reminder of the unique challenges rural communities face. As we observe this important day, Sawyer Law Firm, dedicated to championing justice in nursing home abuse and neglect cases, reflects on the critical intersection of rural health and legal advocacy. The Rural Health Landscape Rural communities, often characterized by close-knit ties and picturesque landscapes, play a vital role in the American fabric. However, the idyllic imagery belies residents' healthcare challenges in these areas. Limited access to medical facilities, shortage of healthcare professionals, and economic disparities create a complex healthcare landscape. Nursing Home Vulnerabilities in Rural Settings Nursing homes in rural areas face distinctive challenges, with residents often experiencing difficulty accessing specialized care and facing prolonged response times in emergencies. The vulnerability of elderly residents is further exacerbated by the scarcity of oversight and regulatory scrutiny. Sawyer Law Firm recognizes the urgency of addressing these issues to ensure the well-being of our rural elderly population. Legal Safeguards and Advocacy On National Rural Health Day, we underscore the importance of legal advocacy in safeguarding the rights of nursing home residents in rural areas. Our team is committed to holding accountable those who breach the trust placed in them, ensuring that nursing homes provide the standard of care that every resident deserves, regardless of their geographic location. 1. Regulatory Compliance in Rural Nursing Homes Examining the existing regulatory frameworks governing rural nursing homes. Advocating for stronger regulations and oversight to address the unique challenges faced by these facilities. 2. Community Education and Empowerment Empowering rural communities with knowledge about their rights and avenues for legal recourse. Conducting outreach programs to educate families about signs of abuse and neglect and how to take action 3. Litigation as a Tool for Change Showcasing successful cases where legal action has led to positive changes in rural nursing home facilities. Discussing the role of litigation in holding negligent parties accountable and promoting systemic change. 4. Collaboration with Healthcare Advocates Building partnerships with healthcare advocacy organizations to address systemic issues in rural healthcare. Supporting initiatives that aim to improve healthcare infrastructure and access in rural areas. On National Rural Health Day, Sawyer Law Firm reaffirms its commitment to advocating for the rights of nursing home residents in rural communities. By combining legal expertise with a passion for justice, we strive to make a lasting impact on the health and well-being of our elderly population. Together, let us work towards a future where rural health disparities are addressed, and every individual, regardless of their zip code, receives the quality care they deserve.
- AARP's Long-Term Care Rankings Released: Alabama Ranked #50
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) recently released its Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard. The scorecard lists many recommendations and warns of significant gaps in long-term care for older adults that persist in all 50 states. It notes that the long-term care system failed to rebound more than three years after COVID-19 began. This is the first LTSS Scorecard that crunches data — using various publicly available sources, such as the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics — from the very height of the pandemic and beyond. The data-rich report factors everything from family care services to the long-term care workforce, equity in nursing homes, and emergency preparedness. The report concludes that even though the cost of home care has dramatically increased, the availability and quality of direct care workers have suffered. Minnesota and Washington (along with the District of Columbia) have continued to innovate with unique ways to support family caregivers at the state level. Minnesota (ranked first), Washington (second), and the District of Columbia (third) led the way, primarily due to their strong support for family caregivers. South Carolina (ranked 49th), Alabama (50th), and West Virginia (51st) are at the very bottom of the LTSS Scorecard. The LTSS Scorecard offers these critical recommendations for states to improve their support for long-term care: Bolster the workforce. Nursing homes and in-home care workforces must improve recruitment and training and increase pay to attract and retain skilled workers. Expand innovative models. Effective nursing home models with smaller facilities and private rooms can improve the quality of care and the quality of life. Address inequities. Make investments that close the gaps in access to quality care facilities. Support family caregivers. Prioritize support for family caregivers with paid leave and tax credits to assist with financial needs. Invest in caregiver infrastructure. Increase support and training for home health aides and home visits and update key Medicaid regulations. Build coalitions. Support age-friendly health systems allowing individuals to live independently with affordable housing and accessible transportation. Support innovation. Create comprehensive aging plans that can offer new approaches with things like smaller, more guest-friendly nursing homes. Mandate emergency plans. Develop sound emergency preparedness plans in every state to support nursing home residents in times of crisis. Some specific rankings of Alabama: Overall Rank – 50 Affordability and Access – 38 Choice of setting and Provider – 51 Safety and Quality – 41 Support for Family Caregivers – 48 Community Integration – 49 Rankings of Alabama related to quality of care in nursing homes: Hospital Admissions – 17 Residents with Pressure Sores – 33 Inappropriate Antipsychotic Use – 47 Staff Turnover – 15 Top Quality Ratings – 21 Staffing Levels – 35 Unfortunately, if your loved one has experienced abuse or neglect at the hands of an Alabama nursing home, these statistics may come as no surprise to you. But nursing home abuse attorney J.P. Sawyer can help make things right. We regularly pursue nursing homes for the sub-standard care of their patients. We can review your case with nursing home experts at no cost. Call us today!
- What Does the Recent White House Executive Order Mean for Nursing Home Abuse Cases?
On September 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced important new steps to crack down on nursing homes that endanger resident safety. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a rule to set a federal floor for staffing levels so that nursing homeowners could not slash staffing to unsafe levels. If finalized, the proposal would require every facility to have a Registered Nurse on site 24/7, a certain minimum number of registered nurses and nursing aides to provide routine care, and staffing according to resident needs based on a robust assessment of the facility’s residents. To ensure affected nursing homes have ample time to hire necessary staff, CMS proposes that the minimum staffing requirements go into effect in phases. Staffing levels at nursing homes are closely linked to quality of care. For instance, a study of one state’s nursing facilities showed that even a 20-minute increase in staffing per resident day from a Registered Nurse was associated with 22% fewer cases of COVID-19 and 26% fewer COVID-related deaths in nursing homes. Other studies similarly find that higher staffing is associated with better quality of patient care and patient health outcomes. Chronic understaffing disproportionately affects facilities serving a higher share of residents from certain racial and ethnic groups. In recent years, there has been a disturbing trend toward private equity firms and other large corporate owners purchasing nursing homes and slashing levels of staff as a way to maximize profits. To improve nursing home safety in the short term, CMS also announced new efforts to improve enforcement of existing staffing standards, which currently require nursing homes to provide “sufficient” staffing and eight hours per day of registered nurse care. These actions will help address substandard care and strengthen accountability before the new minimum staffing requirements are enacted. The HHS Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) is also undertaking important oversight of nursing home performance, examining nursing home spending of taxpayer funds, inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotic medications, and emergency preparedness planning by facilities. In addition, HHS is announcing new steps to help expand the nursing workforce. CMS, in partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced a national nursing career pathways campaign. The campaign will help recruit, train, retain, and transition workers into nursing home careers as nursing staff. This plan will invest over $75 million in scholarships and tuition reimbursement. While these efforts will go a long way toward addressing problems within the nursing home industry, it will take time for the impact to be seen. Meanwhile, residents and patients are still injured and continue to suffer. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse attorney J.P. Sawyer deals with these issues regularly. It is what we do. We’re here to help.
- Alabama’s Worst Nursing Homes
Five nursing homes have been identified as the worst nursing homes in Alabama. These nursing homes were placed on the August 30, 2023, Center for Medicare & Medicaid’s Special Focus Facility Candidate List: Atalla Health and Rehab (Atalla) Diversicare of Foley (Foley) NHC Healthcare (Moulton) Oak Knoll Health and Rehabilitation (Birmingham) Signature Healthcare of Whitesburg Gardens (Huntsville) CMS and State Agencies (SAs) inspect nursing homes regularly to determine if they are providing the quality of care that Medicare and Medicaid require to protect and improve residents’ health and safety. When nursing homes do not meet CMS’ health care standards, these instances are cited as deficiencies, and the problems must be corrected. Most nursing homes have some deficiencies, with an average of six to seven per standard health inspection. However, some nursing homes have: More problems than other nursing homes (about twice the average number of deficiencies), More serious problems than most other nursing homes (including harm or injury experienced by residents) and A pattern of serious problems that have persisted over a long period. To address nursing homes with repeated cycles of serious deficiencies, CMS operates a Special Focus Facility Program. The five Alabama facilities were recently identified as candidates for this program. For a full list of nursing homes, visit https://www.cms.gov/medicare/provider-enrollment-and-certification/certificationandcomplianc/downloads/sfflist.pdf.
- Nursing Home Infections and Sepsis
Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are more susceptible to infections and sepsis for many reasons. These older individuals already generally have less robust immune systems due to advanced age, many different negative health conditions, loss of appetite, and dependence on multiple medications. Furthermore, they live in close quarters in a group setting where infections, such as the flu, can easily spread. Many are also subject to feeding tubes, IVs, catheters, and medication ports on their bodies that can become infected without proper hygiene and care from staff. Unfortunately, infections are common in nursing homes and elder care facilities. When not properly treated, these infections can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening condition. These facilities owe you and your loved one a duty of care. When negligence or abuse occurs, that duty is breached, and they can be found liable. At Sawyer Law Firm, we have a long history of holding these facilities accountable through claims and lawsuits when they have victimized residents through neglect or abuse. Has your loved one suffered an infection or sepsis in a nursing home setting? Talk to our experienced attorney in Montgomery in a free consultation to determine the merits of your case and options. Contact us online or at (334) 539-0604. Common Nursing Home Infections Because of their weaker immune systems, the elderly have a much more difficult time fighting off infections. They may suffer much worse symptoms than younger people and take much longer to recover while requiring competent medical care. Common infections of the elderly can include but are not limited to: Respiratory infections Infected bedsores Urinary tract infections Skin infections Gastrointestinal infections Influenza Strep throat infections Infections in nursing homes can be caused by neglect or poor care at the hands of staff. This negligence can include improper hygiene provided to residents, lack of hand washing by staff, poor cleaning or sanitation of the facility, improper food preparation, improper insertion or maintenance of medical devices from feeding tubes to IVs, and more. These facilities can fail to immediately respond to resident infections through proper medical care. They may also fail to isolate infected individuals from others, causing the unnecessary spread of the infection. Sepsis in Nursing Home Patients When an infection is not treated properly and swiftly, it can lead to sepsis, which is potentially life-threatening. Sepsis is caused by your body’s extreme reaction to infection through a chemical chain reaction triggered to fight back. Those most at risk for sepsis are the elderly, those with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, lung conditions, and more and anyone with a weakened immune system. Sepsis can lead to organ failure, tissue damage, and death. It often results in extremely low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, chills and fever, clammy skin, and severe discomfort. Sepsis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
- Malnutrition and Dehydration in Nursing Homes
Malnutrition and dehydration are common problems for residents of poorly managed or understaffed nursing homes and assisted living facilities. As people age, their appetites often become reduced, and, the less they consume nutritious food, the weaker and less able they become to do so. Medications can also interfere with appetite and willingness to intake both food and water which can also lead to malnutrition and dehydration. As a result, weight loss can occur, physical weakness can increase, and health complications can ensue. Nursing Home Feeding Guidelines Proper nutrition and fluid intake for residents is the responsibility of caretakers in nursing homes and other elder care facilities. Where these facilities fail in this matter, whether from understaffing or other forms of mismanagement, residents suffer. This is a form of negligence that must be addressed. At Sawyer Law Firm, nursing home abuse attorney JP Sawyer can provide the legal assistance and remedies you need to hold negligent facilities accountable through claims and lawsuits. Our firm has sought and obtained justice for many families throughout Montgomery and the state of Alabama whose loved ones have wrongfully suffered abuse or neglect as residents of care facilities. Let a Montgomery malnutrition attorney review your nursing home case and legal options in a free consultation. Contact us online or at (334) 539-0604. Nursing Home Malnutrition Malnutrition in nursing homes and care facilities can occur in many ways. Staff can fail to monitor or supervise the intake of food for residents. These residents often suffer malnutrition because they cannot properly feed themselves, experience depression, and chronic pain, suffer from the side effects of prescribed medicines, including anti-depressants and other antipsychotics, or are served bland, unappealing, improperly cooked, or lukewarm meals. In some cases, the food lacks proper nutritional value. Nursing Home Not Feeding Patients Residents who require assistance with eating can be served meals and then left to their own devices. Unfortunately, this commonly results in food being untouched and removed, leaving the resident without sufficient nutrition. These residents may be too embarrassed to ask for help, may have dementia and be unable to communicate properly, or be overmedicated to the point where they are barely functional. Other problems can occur by feeding residents foods they cannot tolerate or that may be dangerous to their health. Additionally, mistakes and problems can occur for residents who need feeding tubes. These mistakes can include improper insertion of the tube or wrong methods of feeding. Signs of Nursing Home Care Malnutrition Aside from weight loss, malnutrition can manifest in many ways, including: Fatigue and lethargy Bone loss Muscle loss Organ deterioration Memory loss and cognitive function deterioration Dizziness and light-headedness Confusion Swollen abdomen Dehydration is equally dangerous and can result in serious health problems from migraines and headaches to dizziness, fatigue, physical weakness, and more.
- Medication Errors in Assisted Living Facilities & Nursing Homes
Medication errors in assisted living facilities and nursing homes can lead to serious, even life-threatening repercussions for residents and their families. Almost every patient or resident in these facilities requires some type of medication. For many, multiple medications need to be administered daily. Where mistakes are made, such as skipping required doses or overdosing, the consequences can be a significant reduction in the management of a disease or health condition or increased and serious side effects. In poorly managed facilities where staff are poorly trained or understaffed, mistakes can occur leading to health deterioration and injuries to dependent residents. Holding negligent assisted living facilities and nursing homes accountable for any harm done to their residents is a difficult proposition. These cases call for the knowledge and skills of an attorney who is experienced in them. Attorney JP Sawyer devotes most of his practice to protecting the rights, health, and safety of the elderly residing in these facilities. We bring decades of experience, tenacity, and care to the individuals we represent and their families in and around Montgomery and throughout Alabama. Reach out to Sawyer Law Firm online or at (334) 539-0604 for a free case review to learn your options and how we can help. Medication Errors Examples (H2) Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities commonly have such health conditions as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s, dementia, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, osteoporosis, and more. These individuals are often on many medications to control these conditions and depend on staff to administer them. Where carelessness occurs by staff, medication errors can occur, including: Forgetting a medication Administering the wrong dosage Administering a wrong medication Overmedication These errors may be unintentional yet have serious effects on the individual’s health. This could be considered unintentional abuse but is still illegal. Abuse of Sedatives, Anti-Depressants, or Anti-Psychotic Medications In other cases, however, residents in these facilities may be purposely overdosed in what is known as “chemical restraint” to keep them docile and under control. This is done by giving the resident higher amounts of prescribed drugs or giving them unprescribed drugs, such as sedatives, anti-depressants, or anti-psychotic drugs designed to subdue them and make them more manageable. This is often done to residents with dementia. These individuals often have “behavioral problems,” such as wandering, resisting care, or “crying,” according to a report made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The report states that more than 80 percent of “atypical antipsychotic drug claims” were for elderly nursing home residents who had not been diagnosed with a condition for which these drugs were FDA-approved. Unfortunately, these drugs become a substitute for proper care, social activities, and other programs that can foster better mental and emotional health for these residents. They lead to a serious reduction in quality of life, decreased consciousness, and, in the worst cases, can lead to eventual decline and death. According to Human Rights Watch, antipsychotic drug abuse in nursing homes is rampant and doubles the risk of death in those with dementia.
- Nursing Home Falls
Nursing Home Falls Statistics According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of people aged 65 and above experience falls every year. This translates to more than one out of four in this age group. These falls are often preventable. In nursing homes and assisted living facilities, these potentially injurious incidents could indicate neglect by staff whose job is to care for and assist the elderly. Nursing Home Falls Prevention With proper training, monitoring, and supervision of residents by staff, falls and the injuries they inflict on vulnerable individuals could be reduced or potentially eliminated. Are nursing homes liable for falls? If you believe your loved one has suffered a fall due to the neglect of the nursing home or assisted living staff, you can discuss your suspicions and concerns with Montgomery falls lawyer J.P. Sawyer. When you entrust the health and safety of your loved one to one of these facilities, you expect that trust to be honored. Unfortunately, neglect and abuse in such facilities are known healthcare issues in the U.S. Our firm takes these cases very seriously and, where mistreatment or negligence causes harm to vulnerable residents, we take aggressive legal action to hold offenders accountable. Has your loved one suffered a fall in a nursing home or assisted living facility? Book a free consultation with Montgomery attorney J.P. Sawyer by calling (334) 539-0604 or contacting us online. Where do most falls occur in nursing homes? According to the CDC, broken bones or other injuries are the result of one out of every five falls in the U.S. These lead to 3 million older individuals requiring treatment in emergency rooms. The elderly is more susceptible to falls due to their advancing physical weakness, loss of balance, and use of medications that can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and other problems. Aside from physical weakness, medications, and balance issues, falls in nursing homes often occur when a resident is being transferred from a bed to a wheelchair, walker, or toilet. Assisting these individuals out of bed without proper strength, training, or experience a staff person can lead to accidents. Other causes of falls in these facilities can be slippery floors, loose rugs, uneven floors, raised thresholds, and electrical cords or wires. Nursing Home Fall Injuries Difficulties with walking and balance are a known risk for the elderly as evidenced by medical organizations and healthcare agencies, such as Medicare. When these individuals do fall, it can lead to serious injuries, especially when they are on blood thinners that can cause excessive bleeding. Hip fractures are a common result of falls that require surgery, hospitalization, and long recovery times for the elderly. At least 300,000 older people require hospitalization for hip fractures of which over 95 percent are caused by falls. Additionally, traumatic brain injuries are mostly caused by falls. After such falls, an older person’s overall physical strength is often greatly diminished. In the worst cases, they may never fully recover from fractures or head injuries incurred by falls. They may suffer a loss of mobility and independence as well as chronic pain, deteriorated cognitive abilities, depression, and more.
- Abuse in Assisted Living Facilities
Unfortunately, nursing homes are not unique in the occurrence of elder abuse and neglect. Reports of neglect and abuse by staff at assisted living facilities have also become a national healthcare issue. These reports include similar issues as nursing home mistreatment, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as neglect and financial exploitation. Estimates of the mistreatment of the elderly living in these facilities range between four and five percent. However, the percentages may likely be higher due to many incidents that go unreported. How To Report Abuse in Assisted Living Facility When you suspect any type of maltreatment at an assisted living facility, you should document the evidence wherever possible and report your concerns to the management. If you have a loved one who resides in an assisted living facility and you suspect that he or she has been subjected to some type of mistreatment, Sawyer Law Firm can help. Our firm focuses primarily on protecting the rights, safety, and health of our most vulnerable citizens. We want to listen to your story, inform you of your options, and take whatever legal action is necessary to hold negligent or abusive individuals accountable. We have assisted clients all over the state of Alabama in seeking justice for the harm done to their loved ones. Contact Montgomery assisted living abuse lawyer J.P. Sawyer at (334) 539-0604 or online for a free case evaluation. Assisted Living Abuse Cases Assisted living facilities differ from nursing homes in that they do not provide medical care for residents. As their name suggests, these facilities provide daily living assistance for older individuals who are generally mobile, in good health, and who do not need skilled nursing care. Residents of assisted living facilities may need help with dressing themselves, walking, personal hygiene, eating, or taking prescribed medications. Just because their services are limited to this does not mean these facilities are not subject to state and federal laws and regulations. As stated above, residents of these facilities are just as much at risk for abuse and neglect as those residing in skilled nursing homes. Examples of assisted living abuse by staff in these facilities can include but are not limited to: Verbal abuse. This can include belittlement, insults, ridicule, yelling, cursing, the use of scare tactics, and refusal to communicate. Physical abuse. This can include slaps, pinching, physical isolation, and more. Emotional abuse. This can include threats, constant criticism, blame, scapegoating, the use of profane language, rejection, and gaslighting. Sexual abuse. This can range from unwanted touching to sexual assault. Financial abuse. This can range from theft of cash, personal items, checkbooks, and credit card to identity theft, coercion into transferring assets, making a new will, or otherwise asserting undue influence over the resident’s assets. Neglect. Residents in nursing homes can be subject to neglect as well, leading to poor hygiene, dehydration, malnutrition, deteriorating health, new medical conditions, and medical emergencies.
- Nursing Home Abuse in Dementia Care Units
Unfortunately, dementia is a condition that commonly accompanies advanced age. According to the National Institute of Health, dementia affects about 3.4 million or more individuals in the U.S. Dementia increases with age, with those reaching 90 and above comprising the greatest number. It is also recognized by most medical associations that individuals with dementia pose a higher risk for abuse and neglect in nursing homes and dementia care units due to their impaired ability to think, remember, communicate, or reason. This can make them vulnerable targets for unscrupulous caregivers and care unit staff. If you have a loved one whom you believe has suffered some type of abuse or neglect, you should speak with a Montgomery dementia care unit attorney who is experienced in this practice area. At Sawyer Law Firm, attorney J.P. Sawyer has focused most of his practice on elder abuse and neglect in all kinds of facilities and care homes. Our firm is dedicated to righting the wrongs and seeking justice for these vulnerable individuals and their families who have been harmed by others charged with their care. Has your loved one been neglected or abused in a dementia care unit? Get a free consultation with Montgomery nursing home abuse attorney J.P. Sawyer by contacting us online or at (334) 539-0604. Abuse & Neglect in Dementia Care Units Dementia is not a disease, but a term used to describe older individuals who develop cognitive problems as they age. Determining if your loved one has been abused or neglected in a dementia care unit can be complicated because of the above manifestations. Because those suffering from dementia cannot easily differentiate between the present and the past or between the real and the imagined, it can be difficult to discern the truth. However, in many cases, those with dementia are taken advantage of for these very reasons by untrustworthy individuals. Furthermore, dementia patients may not report any wrongdoing because they don’t remember it, don’t have the awareness to know that it is happening, or fear no one will believe them. Dementia can consist of: Short-term and long-term memory loss Difficulty communicating Difficulty solving problems or making decisions Difficulties with the ability to think Impaired judgment Difficulty doing familiar tasks Time and space disorientation Misplacing items Inappropriate emotional reactions, such as antagonism and anger Paranoia Delusions The best way to discover or prevent your loved one from being the victim of abuse or neglect in a dementia care unit or facility is to maintain close observation and understand the signs that would point to such behavior by staff and others. These signs can indicate physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. They range from malnutrition and dehydration to bruising, broken bones, bedsores, unexplained emotional responses to caregivers indicators of overmedication, restraint, depression, and more. Where possible, it is vital to document such abuse or neglect with photos and other evidence.